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Making an Old Buffet New Again

Furniture makeovers are a great way to save money on decorating. If you can find a good deal on a solid piece of furniture, you can save hundreds of dollars compared to buying new. That’s what happened with this buffet makeover. 

I haven’t met many buffets I don’t love (including food). This one showed up on our local Facebook online yard sale and I knew it had potential. Naturally, I coerced my neighborhood BFF to tag along because I don’t go alone when picking up the furniture. The seller was moving and had it listed for $50! Sold! This buffet was in great shape – no cracks, drawers worked perfectly, good lines – just not my taste in color/finish.

An old dark wood buffet before a makeover with paint.

Next comes the part where I paint it three times in one week because I just couldn’t get it “right”. I started with an off white color that is my go-to white (Panda White by Sherwin Williams – I chose this because that’s what the builder used for all the trim/doors in our house). Then I distressed it. Then I distressed it some more and then it got ugly. I went too far and hated it.

So, out to the stash in the garage for more paint. I found a lovely pale gray color that I have no idea why or when I bought it. Round two – it was pretty but just didn’t go in our house. At this point, I had decided to keep it so it kinda needed to get along well with others. Round three – back to the off white, dark wax, and lightly distressed. It’s got some rough spots where I didn’t sand enough, but not enough to make me go for round four.

I painted the inside with another favorite from Sherwin Williams – Sea Salt. Normally I don’t paint the interior of the furniture. But this baby smelled like an ashtray. That’s another thing. I tried everything under the sun to get the smell out. Finally emptied a box of Arm and Hammer Pet Odor eliminator into some Tupperware containers and let it sit for days. Ding ding ding – that was the ticket. Now it smells like flowers. I’ve used various things for getting smoke/odors out of furniture and this was by far my fave and the most successful.

The opened door of a freshly painted traditional buffet table.
An opened drawer of a freshly painted white traditional buffet table.

Definitely not intended for use as a console table, but that’s the good part about decorating. Do what you love – There are no specific rules. If it works well in your house for your needs, then who cares that it’s supposed to live in a dining room? This is perfect for us – My daughter’s trinkets and hair accessories occupy one door, we have photo albums in part of it, and I keep the kids’ chore charts in here so it’s easily accessible right before we head up for the night.

A freshly painted buffet with white paint and aged brass hardware.



Saturday 30th of September 2017

Getting some insight if I decide to buy that buffet! I need to ask about smoking. Do they smoke. If so I need to retread your post on how to get the smells out. Thanks for all your help!


Saturday 30th of September 2017

Sure thing Wendy! I can guarantee that if I got the smoke smells out of this thing, you can do it with that if they did happen to smoke! Can't wait to see it if you get it!